Several months after the Aurora movie-theater shooting that left 12 people dead, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was asked by NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ moderator David Gregory if he was disappointed that there was not a more robust national debate on the issue of gun control during the 2012 campaign season.
In his response, the Democratic governor essentially said that he wasn’t disappointed and that the real problem isn’t guns, but crazy individuals who are hell-bent on killing others.
“I think if you look at some of the weapons that people are using in these, these senseless attacks, I mean 12-gauge shotguns, there’s 120 million out there,” said Hickenlooper.
“I do worry that some of the cuts that governor Romney is proposing are going to cut funding in all manner of levels for mental health. I mean that’s one of the big issues. We’ve got some crazy folks out there that are just completely delusional. We’ve got to be able to identify that sooner and get them into treatment. Get them off the street before they do some sore of insane act,” he continued.
However, now (arguably, that the election is over and President Obama is back in office) the governor is singing a completely different tune.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Hickenlooper said that the first month of the 2013 legislative session would be the perfect time to debate gun control.
“I wanted to have at least a couple of months off after the shooting in Aurora to let people process and grieve and get a little space, but it is, I think, now the time is right,” Hickenlooper said.
On the table are issues like, “do we all need assault weapons?” which the governor said are “designed for warfare” and “designed to pierce bulletproof vests and body armor.”
Hickenlooper did not mention any specific legislation, but he did – to some extent – telegraph what proposals he’d like to see.
“When you look at what happened in Aurora, a great deal of that damage was from the large magazine on the AR-15. I think we need to have that discussion and say, ‘Where is this appropriate?'”
As reported in a previous Guns.com article, we know what measures pro-gun control lawmakers are currently cooking up: an assault weapons ban, a ban on high capacity magazines purchased online, a ban on concealed carry at college campuses and tougher background check standards that aim to do a better job identifying the mentally ill.
Judging by his most recent comments, it’s appears that Hickenlooper is on board with all of those proposals.
Rep. Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs) told the AP that he applauded Hickenlooper for his initial remarks following the Aurora tragedy, specifically when the governor said that more gun control would not have prevented what happened.
But now Rep. Walter, who is the incoming House leader, views the governor’s latest remarks as hewing to a larger pro-gun control agenda.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to try to capitalize on tragedies to further some political agenda,” Rep. Waller told the AP.
The bottom line is that Colorado gun owners need to be uber-vigilant in 2013. With the Democrats in control of both chambers of the state Legislature, it’s certainly possible that a few, if not all, of those gun control measures land on Hickenlooper’s desk.